I just noticed something interesting, which has been happening as of late. When I first boot up my laptop (gentoo-2.6.12-r13) and run free -m, I get ~65 megs of used ram without caches and buffers. This is under E17.
Anyways, After about a day of normal use (firefox, thunderbird, muine, gaim, eclipse, gnome-terminal), if I run free -m again, I get ~500 megs of used ram without caches and buffers! This is with all programs closed except E17 itself.
If I run gnome-system-monitor, and look at the processes, it does not account for this massive ram usage. I can't seem to track down why this is happening. Does anyone have a suggestion of where to look, or why this might be happening?
firefox is well known to be a memory hog. if you leave it open, it will eat up your RAM.
free reports very high usage even after I close firefox.
I wrote a quick little perl script that totals the RSS and VSZ values from ps, and I get this when I'm running muine and firefox:
rss total: 526 Mb
vsz total: 1073 Mb
This pretty closely agrees with the output from free. However, when I close
firefox and muine, the output from free barely changes, but my script gives:
rss total: 140 Mb
vsz total: 308 Mb
which is much closer to what I would expect. I don't get it...
seems to be quite a considerable decrease after you quit firefox. try quitting thunderbird too.
just a wild thought, but are you sure you haven't been hacked (ie ps is giving results that are hiding the tracks of a rootkit). what you've said doesn't say whether you're permanantly connected to the internet and/or running a server etc....so i can only make reasoned guesses.
don't get worried or anything :). thats probably not the case, but given the information, i can only speculate.
Just found the culprit!
I took a look in /etc/cron.daily to find that updatedb was running nightly. I rebooted, bringing the mem usage down to ~65 megs. Then, I ran updatedb, and when it finished, the mem usage was at >500 megs, and remained that high after the process stopped.
glad you found the cause :). i'm really surprised that updatedb used up that much memory for such a long period. for me, it only runs for about 5 minutes . its quite resource hungry for that 5 minutes, though.
Well the weird thing is that even after updatedb finishes, free and vmstat still claim that the memory is in use. Almost like there is a bug in the kernel that is causing it to reserve memory for a processes that has ended.